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  March 18, 2000



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Daredevil wrestler will be missed


By BRET 'THE HITMAN' HART -- Calgary Sun

 DEAR BRET,

 I recently attended the Manchester, England, show and your interview alone was worth more than the price of the ticket. I wish your interview was on last because it was just so memorable. With all the talk about biggest drawing cards, you were always the biggest draw in the U.K. and Germany throughout the '90s.

 Thanks for the memories.

 Ben Cragg, Manchester

 DEAR BEN,

 The looks of support and get-well wishes on the faces of the fans in Manchester will be something that I will carry with me forever. It is I who should say to you -- and to all of my fans in England -- thanks for the memories.

 Hitman fans in England have been waiting patiently for years for me to wrestle there again. Last week, WCW had big shows in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and I went there because I wanted to explain to my fans why I couldn't wrestle for them, which was hard for them and even harder for me.

 The update is that I'm out of action until at least July and then we'll see what happens from there.

 

 On Thursday, I had a really good time on the Mike Bullard show and he happened to mention that Mick Foley had recently been a guest.

 I'm sorry to see Mick Foley, one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots, retire, but, I confess, I breathed a sigh of relief for him because he was able to leave on his own terms, with his head up and (relatively) in one piece.

 Mick was an extraordinary worker who could have gotten himself over big time with his wrestling ability without all the spectacular, suicidal manoeuvres. But the guy actually liked doing daredevil stuff that had the rest of us in the dressing room cringing at the TV monitors.

 The problem I have with Mick's style is simply that it shortened his career and, like any fan, I would like to see him wrestle some more.

 The thing that fans don't realize -- and can't realize, because you'd have to get in the ring and work with Mick to know this -- is that while he was being brutally reckless with his own body, he was always very considerate of his opponents. I would have been happy to work with him any day of the week, but I only had the pleasure twice, in England and New York. It's too bad that our paths didn't cross more often because I think The Hitman vs. Cactuskind would have been an interesting, action-packed, fun feud with a lot of fast-paced swerves and surprises.

 Mick is more than a little bit crazy and somehow, through all the sharks and snakes, he never let this crazy business change who he is. After Montreal, he was one of the few guys who had the decency to make a stand. He no-showed Raw the next day and called me saying he was going to quit because what they did wasn't right and if they can do that to Bret Hart, they can do that to anybody. I will always remember his loyalty and support as an example of what true friendship is all about.

 I've missed being able to talk with Mick and I look forward to catching up with him now. But I worry about the beating that he took in the name of entertaining us all, accepting my share of the guilt if I had any part in causing his pain, because I enjoyed being his fan as much as anyone.

 Who wouldn't cheer for a guy so dedicated and innovative? He had every right to get big-headed but, despite his success, he remained a well-grounded, team player.

 Hey, Jack, I hear ya might wanna come back for one more dance. I dare ya! Come on, all the way up to Calgary, bring the whole family to my house for a visit and you and me will go at it one more time. Old habits being hard to break, I can see where you'd be climbing up to the roof and I'd be headed down to the basement -- but I'll bet Dewey and Blade would have the best idea of all and pull us both into the living room to tag up with them on the video game. After all is said and done, isn't that what it's all about?

 And how about this? I'm elated that my brother Keith's son, Conor, 13, just took the silver at both the Saskatoon Amateur wrestling tournament and the Alberta Open! Kudos to you, Conor!

 The Hitman will be signing autographs tomorrow at noon at the Marlborough Mall Wal-Mart.

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